Friday, September 19, 2014

The Inquisitor's Mark (Eighth Day #2) by Dianne K. Salerni

I went hunting for an Advanced Reader's Copy of this sequel after shooting through book one in a night. I should probably wait to review it since the publisher's date is January 27, but I'm not a patient person. The action picks up where book two left off with Riley, Jax, Evangeline, and the Crandalls heading back from Mexico after saving the world from destruction. The author alternates voices between Jax and Dorian Ambrose, his cousin, although Jax gets more page-time. Evangeline is trying to locate her sister in this fast-paced story. The two are the last descendants of Merlin and if they are killed the eighth day will disappear along with everyone in it. Merlin and two other clans live solely in the eighth day. They cannot transition and their lives are continually threatened by the clans that want to either end day 8 or leave it alone.

Jax doesn't know he has a family in New York. A family that supposedly murdered Riley's and has a history of pursuing greed and power with no regard to who gets trampled and killed in the process. Jax NY relatives want to capture Evangeline and her sister in order to manipulate magic. When they track down Evangeline's old home, Jax's best friend, Billy, spots Dorian and thinks it is Jax. Seeing an opportunity, the Ambroses' kidnap Billy and Jax sets out to rescue him. Jax gets help from Thomas and Tegan Crandall until things go horribly wrong.

This plot isn't tied in with the Arthurian legend as closely as book one. To really understand the backdrop readers should read the series in order. The backstory is worked into the plot but all the competing clans might be confusing. This tale has some weird twists with the Brownie holes and how they work in the world of magic created by the author. I wondered if the one Brownie was the pet of Jax's dad, but that question is never answered. Just implied. The ending has some cliff hangers that will have me looking for the Advanced Reader Copy of book 3. This action-packed book has more humor than the first as the group has another hair-rising adventure right on the heels of the first. They become more comfortable with each other teasing and showing affection as friendships keep developing.

Jax has gone from not trusting these people to becoming their friends. He knows that he isn't completely accepted by them when he overhears Mrs. Crandall and Riley talking about sending him away. His character arc is trying to figure out what it means to be a family whether by bloodlines or not. Dorian is trying to learn how to have courage and stand up to his family. He is a nice kid that doesn't like how the adults in his family treat his sister who is normal. He is also sick with how they treated Billy. Dorian knows that he has a choice before they make him a vassal and he finds courage not only from a journal by Jax's dad, but by Jax himself. When Jax sacrifices himself to save him, Dorian decides to make his choice of right and wrong no matter what the consequences are with his relatives.

Thankfully there are less slang words and the author incorporates a funny signal between Jax and Riley with "suck".  The slang drops off although "dude" is added. Whatever (that was my daughter's favorite word as a thirteen-year-old). The flawed characters are easy to engage with as a reader. Tegan is an interesting complex character that keeps developing in each book. She's a web of contradictions and strong-minded coming across as authentic and interesting. I can't wait to see how she keeps developing. Add this series to your shelves.

4 Smileys

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